Coming into Spring t-ball season, I’ll admit I was a bit of a naysayer. I recalled visions from two years prior when my then 6-yr-old daughter joined the collective team of girls for softball. The ages ranged from five to ten. They were all over the place. They spent four weeks of the season debating names before they settled on “The Kiwi’s,” but no kiwi I’ve ever seen has ever appeared as fluorescent green as their t-shirts. Games/practices were 7:00p.m. on Tuesdays and Fridays, one night of which my husband would always miss due to lawnbowling. I threw in the towel mid-way through the season. I never thought I would do that – I finish everything even if it’s painful.
Two years later, with a new attitude and fierce determination from a young, budding Twins fan, we signed up my son, Calvin, for t-ball. We had survived wicked winter storms to get them over to Pearl Park for their weekly basketball games – one played Tuesday and one played Friday. I am so into efficiency, I’m thinking joint participation in sports – same team, same time – would have been a huge benefit of having twins. From soccer to t-ball I always push to bend the rules so that they can be on the same team. It doesn’t work any more – at six and eight, they’re too advanced. The Park Board is on to me.
The first night. The nearly all-boys team with gold t-shirts within two minutes decides they will call themselves “The Gold Team.” There’s one coach, but many parents are pitching in. It’s needed. The team is ambitious, but often keep their eye so closely on the ball that they forget which side they’re on. A runner on second base, spontaneous and glove-less, veers from the path to third to field a ball that his teammate has just hit. Entertaining for sure. Parents pop out to the bases to serve as base coaches, instructing each newcomer. It’s all fair, they cycle through by number high to low, then next inning low to high. There really seems to be no drama.
The second night. Calvin is tagged out on first. The coach explains Cal should go sit down on the bench, he’s out. Calvin remains on the base, close to meltdown. Other hitters continue to pass through first base… Then he’s over it and marches to the bench to sit out for the rest of the time – like 30 some minutes. I don’t approach. Coach tries a few things, then, “that’s the rules, buddy.” I sense that Calvin’s not upset that he’s out, he’s more embarrassed because he didn’t understand the rules correctly.
After the game, juice boxes and sweet treats await. At this point, I’m talking with him and we’re away from the group. Three coaches/dads come over and try to entice him with snacks as I try to hold firm – you don’t hit (as in bat), you don’t git (as in snack). How cruel is that kid’s mom?
The third night and beyond? He loves it. He’s got a rock n’ roll guitar and BFF tattoo (left over from his sister’s birthday party) and the attitude to match. All the kids hit quickly off the tee, run and field the ball. They have actually improved quite a bit.
Calvin is practicing in between games/practices and the most recent Twins game he went to with his Dad was much more appreciated than games prior. Other than the miserably undependable weather (rain, tornado warnings, 105 degree day) forcing some cancels and one recent non-notification of a cancel on our night to bring snacks, the local t-ball scene and I are finally in sync.
What’s next? Swimming lessons at the local pool? As long as there is one entire night dedicated to team photos, I’m in.